Climate change is coming for the Olympics

The Olympics. A collection of athletic champions competing for arguably the greatest glory of all — Olympic gold.

I love the Olympics. I love the swimming, the gymnastics, and the brand-spanking-new Olympic venues and champions. And the GIFS. But climate change is coming for all of that.

2016 will quite possibly be the hottest year on record for the globe, following 2014 then 2015 as the hottest ever, which will be a huge issue for the competitors who have the unfortunate task of playing their sport outside. And even though Rio is having issues of the water pollution variety, as well as public healthpoverty, record heat AND the economy, I have another concern.


Snow? Why? Because how are they going to get snow in Beijing for the 2022 winter Olympics? Spoiler alert: they’re not.

To start off, “the skiing, snowboarding and sliding events will be held in Yanqing, 55 miles away from the capital, and Zhangjiakou, 100 miles away – on the edge of the Gobi desert,” according to BBC.

Yanqing averages eight inches of snow per year, while, Zhangjiakou averages two. TWO.

Image via BBC.

Completely discounting the fact that these places get no snow to begin with, studies have been conducted that show just how much the global snowpack is retreating.

USA TODAY said it best:

Basically, giving the Winter Games to Beijing is like awarding the Super Bowl to a city without a football field.

As time goes on, summer Olympics are going to get hotter, and so are winter Olympics. That means more humidity, less snowpack. More winter rain, less winter snow. Hotter summers, hotter winters, and hotter everything in between. Searing heat waves will become the norm.

The lasting legacy of climate change is defined by extreme heat. And that’s bad news for the Olympics all around.


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